By the thirty-sixth weeks, the uterus has become very huge and many moms think that it cannot get bigger than that. However, the belly will get even bigger in the remaining 4 weeks before your due date. You will be surprised to realize that the capacity of a mom’s abdomen to stretch is remarkable.
By the end of the 36th week, the baby has grown so much and reached about 6 pounds and 19 inches in length. Some babies are even bigger than this and will keep packing more weight and growing longer until the due date.
Because of the fast growth, the available space in the uterus is very limited and the baby has to spend most of the time curled and folding arms. The temporary hair and waxy substance that covers the body and protects it will start being shed away in the week as the skin keeps thickening and adding on layers of fat.
Though the baby’s lungs have all the necessary structures well developed, the baby would still need some assistance to breath if he/she was born in the 36th week. The lungs keep producing surfactant that helps protect the air sacs and preparing him/her for first breathing after delivery.
The heart keeps beating faster at about (110-165beats/min). Even after birth, the heart will still keep beating faster than normal to help with delivery of oxygen and other fluids before stabilizing weeks after birth.
By the close of the week, the baby’s swallowing and excreting of amniotic fluids will reach a balance. This ensures that the uterus will not grow or decrease significantly bringing about oligohydramnios (very little) or polyhydramnios (too much amniotic fluid).
Over time, several theories have been advanced explaining the onset of labor. One theory indicates that the baby’s brain commands the adrenal glands to release cortisol hormone bringing about labor. The release of cortisol alters progesterone and estrogen release by the other sending you into labor. Another theory suggests that the baby’s lungs give a signal to the mother’s body indicating they are ready. This results in the release of prostaglandins that help with the ripening of the cervix and commencement if contractions. Whichever the theory is right, the truth is that the baby may decide to come any week from now or later until the 42nd week.
The average weight gain by the close of the 36th week is about 29-30 lbs. This will keep adding at a rate of 1 lb/week until the 40th week pregnant/due date. In this week, you will experience clumsiness because of the fast growing belly. Change in hormones is causing the pelvic and others to loosen resulting in lack of balance.
Vaginal discharge in the 36th week is expected to change and start appearing thicker. This is normal because the body is gearing up for delivery and the mucus plug may be starting to dislodge.
Starting from the 36th week, you may experience baby lightening or baby drop. Baby lightening is a process where the baby drops to the pelvic section weeks before the beginning of labor. This may take place from as early as the 36th week or even a few hours to the onset of labor. Some of the symptoms associated with lightening include frequent urination lower stomach pains.
After you make the decision to have your baby via C-Section, chances are that all subsequent deliveries will be through C-section. Though the rules developed in 1999 by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists require that every woman who has had previous C-Section be accompanied by complete personnel to prevent complications, it is impossible because many facilities’ staffs are stretched to the limit. Therefore, you will end up delivering through C-Section in most if not all of the later deliveries.
While VBAC (vaginal birth after delivery) complications are many and most mothers understand them, many still want to take their chances. However, some even go to great lengths and try having birth away from medical facilities to avoid additional births via C-section again. At this point, civil rights have been drawn into the issue as they come in to emphasize that a mother’s wish to select the preferred birth is overlooked.
The best way to look at the issue is discussing it candidly with your doctor. This way, the mother will be able to evaluate all the risks and come to an agreement about the best method of delivery.